Michael Yang left Google two years ago to head up the legal team at social network Pinterest and gets asked regularly by former colleagues whether they should make the leap out of the leviathan’s embrace.
Although the advice, posted on blogging site Medium, is specifically ‘for lawyers thinking about the leaving the best legal department in tech’, it’s pretty useful for any disaffected Googler (and some is general good nouse for any employee considering jumping ship).
1. Googlers make a lot of money
When it comes down to it, the bottom line is pretty well padded. As Yang put it, ‘You are paid a ridiculous amount of money. You will make even more the longer you stay at Google.’
Googlers don’t need to feel selfish for thinking of the dollar though, according to Yang. ‘Among other things, this money makes opportunities available to your loved ones and can be used as a force for good in the world.’ Aww.
2. They’re learning about pretty much everything
Google is pushing tech forward and creating a host of new legal issues as it goes. Lawyers are unlikely to find the same mix of global reach and intense scrutiny elsewhere.
If a Google lawyer can’t find something to interest you, they’re either not looking hard enough or ridiculously hard to please:
‘There’s internet law, of course. Hardware? Yep. German/Brazilian/Korean/Indian/Pakistani/[insert country here] law? All of the above. Cars, planes, satellites, robots, thermostats, microbes? Got those too. Multi-billion dollar acquisition with one week’s notice? Every month. Want to help manage an international incident? It’s just a matter of time.’
3. If they want to leave, it’s probably for the wrong reasons
Googlers who have a positive reason for wanting to leave are actually far more likely to go through with it, than those who just need ‘therapy for their Google angst’, according to Yang. He advises the undecided to get excited about opportunities elsewhere before giving in to your itchy feet.
4. No one should be seduced by a single offer
A lot of Googlers coming to Yang for advice are flattered by being headhunted, but haven’t actually thought about what else might be out there. Without doing your research you don’t know your options and may never stumble across ‘The One’, as Yang said was the case for him and Pinterest.
5. Startup life has been romanticised
The days when Google was run out of a garage are long gone, so it may well be tempting to jack it all in to work on The Next Big Thing. But as Yang put it, ‘A $1,000,000 mistake at Google draws a chuckle. At a startup, it puts you one step closer to corporate death.’ Or actual death, in the case of total newbies.